On June 29th, 2021, Lisa Spelman, Corporate Vice President, General Manager of the Xeon and Memory Group posted “Updates on Intel’s Next-Gen Data Center Platform, Sapphire Rapids“. This was partially an update on new features in Sapphire Rapids, and also a formal admission that Intel Sapphire Rapids is delayed until Q2 2022.
Here is the relevant quote from the post:
We now expect Sapphire Rapids to be in production in the first quarter of 2022, with ramp beginning in the second quarter of 2022Updates on Intel’s Next-Gen Data Center Platform, Sapphire Rapids
This is not really a surprise if you have been paying attention. Until now, Intel has maintained the story that Sapphire Rapids would be released by the end of 2021. This is actually a welcome dose of honesty from Intel, and they should be praised for that!
Why Does This Matter?
If you are thinking about purchasing any new servers or migrating to the cloud, knowing the actual scheduled release date for new generation server CPUs is important. Knowing what new features and improvements are part of the design can also help with your decision making process.
Do you buy an Intel or AMD-based server based on what is available right now, or do you wait for something that will be released in the future? If you wait, how long are you willing to wait?
This is the relevant slide from the International Super Computing Conference 2021 (ISC21).
Here is what else is known so far (we think) about Sapphire Rapids.
- 4th Generation Intel Scalable Family
- Successor to Cooper Lake and Ice Lake (for enterprise/data center)
- Platform name: Eagle Stream
- 10 nm+ SuperFin production process
- 56 cores, 112 threads using two dies
- Some sources suggest up to 60 cores with 4x 15-core chiplets
- Other sources claim up to 80 cores
- Uses Socket LGA4677 or LGA4189
- Supports 1, 2, 4 and 8 Socket configurations
- 8-channel DDR5 memory, DDR5-4800
- EMIB (Foveros) to connect the dies using an active interposer
- HBM memory supported, 1 TB/s, 64 GB HBM2E per socket
- Golden Cove CPU cores
- 350W-400W max TDP
- PCIe 5.0, 80 lanes
- CXL 1.1 support, 4x x16 devices
- DLBoost, Enhanced SGX, improved Cryptographic Instructions
Having eight channels of DDR5 memory along with PCIe 5.0 support could be very useful for many SQL Server workloads.
Intel Sapphire Rapids Is Delayed Until Q2 2022
The big question in my mind is what kind of single-threaded CPU performance we will see. Base and Turbo clock speeds usually go down when you move to a smaller process node, at least initially. Having High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) on die will eat into the available power for boosting core clock speeds.
It will be a while before we have any idea how Sapphire Rapids will perform. In the meantime, AMD’s EPYC 7003 Series “Milan” is the current performance champ for most SQL Server workloads. By the time Sapphire Rapids is available, AMD’s next generation Genoa server CPUs will likely also be available.
Here are some related posts on this subject:
- Does Intel Just Like To Confuse People?
- Ten Best Intel Ice Lake-SP Processors for SQL Server
- Do You Want an AMD EPYC 7003 Series Processor for SQL Server?
SQL Server 2016 is falling out of Mainstream Support on July 13, 2021.
If you have any questions about this post, please ask me here in the comments or on Twitter. I am pretty active on Twitter as GlennAlanBerry. Thanks for reading!